I put off writing my farewell talk for way too long. Not because I wasn’t excited to speak to you all, but I know that the closer it got to my farewell, the closer it gets to my departure to the MTC. It’s not that I am not excited to report, but they call it FAREWELL for a reason. Goodbyes have always been hard for me, so for now, I’m going to focus on the topic assigned to me. Which is completely centered around our Savior Jesus Christ. This topic has really humbled me as I have learned and pondered Christ’s mortal ministry and His role in our lives.
I don’t altogether feel prepared to talk on such an crucial topic. It seems to be more of a post mission talk, but, I’m grateful for all I have learned, and excited to share my thoughts.
As the weather turns cold, and the leaves turn brown, everything seems to suggest we turn our thoughts to the birth of our Savior. The Christmas tunes start playing, we become more generous towards those in need, and we seem to walk with greater purpose. It’s no coincidence to me that as we think more on Christ, we feel ourselves being kinder, happier, and friendlier to both the people that mean most to us and our neighbors. Christmas, no matter where you live, is a very special time of year! And why is that?
( Primary Song - Sing When I was a kid, - He Sent His Son - I love referring back to primary songs because they have beautiful melodies that tell us of the simple truths of the gospel)
“How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness? He sent his Son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness. How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go? He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know. How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death? He sent his Son to die for us and rise with living breath. What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way. What does he ask? Live like his Son.”
We all know the story of Christmas. It is a beautiful story of a humble birth of the most magnificent person to walk on earth, OUR SAVIOR. I don’t want to focus on His birth, but rather why he was born.
Why was he born?
In the church, we believe that God is our Heavenly Father, a God of love, a God of law, a God of grace - and for this reason, He made a plan. From the very beginning, God has had a plan in place for us, for all his Children. His plan was to make it possible for us to live with Him again. A plan that would allow imperfect beings like each of us to become worthy enough so that we could return to His presence in Heaven, and live with our Loving Heavenly Father when we die. A perfect plan that allows families to be together forever is unending happiness.
But HOW could that be? How is that possible?
Just like in the song, He sent His Son.
“How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go? He sent his Son to walk with men on earth, that we may know.”
That WE may know His plan. That WE may know the pathways we should go. It’s so amazing to me that I have been blessed to discover God’s plan for me, one of His children, that I may KNOW that pathways in life that He would wants me to follow. There are so many decisions we have to make in life, so many paths we choose to take, but knowing that God has shown me the way to the greatest happiness, the one that leads home -- is the biggest blessing I have in my life.
( Elder Porter of the seventy )
“The boy child who arrived that birthing season was known as the Lamb of God. It is a title of deep significance, for He arrived with the lambs and would someday be “brought as a lamb to the slaughter”. Yet, paradoxically, He was also the Good Shepherd, one who cared for the lambs. Thus, in a curious way, the twin symbols of His life would represent both those who serve and those who are served. It was only right that Christ should play both roles, for in life He “descended below all things,” and in eternity He “ascended up on high”. He knew life from every side and every angle, both above and below. He was the greatest, who made Himself least; the Heavenly Shepherd who became a lamb”
It comes back to the question - Why was Jesus born?
It was part of the plan. That He could show us the way home.
He was perfect so that we could become like Him - That we could have an example to mold our lives after, but how we can not possibly become like Jesus Christ, because we are imperfect. There is not a soul alive today that could return to God’s presence without being purified and cleansed first. And THAT is why God sent His Son.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [Matthew 11:28–29]
Why can we rely on Jesus Christ to set us free? How did He save us?
Jesus Christ was born a son of God. His life on earth was spent in honor of His Father as he worked, taught in holy temples, and served the people by working Miracles in God’s name. The ultimate purpose of His life was to Atone for the sins of the world. This atonement would make it possible for us to live with him, because he would pay the price for our sins.
Elder Holland was quoted to say:
“ Indeed the Atonement of the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh is the crucial foundation upon which all Christian doctrine rests and the greatest expression of divine love this world has ever been given. Its importance in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be overstated. Every other principle, commandment, and virtue of the restored gospel draws its significance from this pivotal event. The Atonement was the foreordained but voluntary act of the Only Begotten Son of God in which He offered His life and spiritual anguish as a redeeming ransom for the effect of the Fall of Adam upon all mankind and for the personal sins of all who repent.
In other words, Christ offered his life to offset the effects of Adam’s sins, and all of our personal sins. Each of us, individually, can be forgiven of our errors because of the price He payed in Gethsemane and His Crucifixion on calvary. IF we allow Jesus’ atonement to cleanse us and make covenants with God to turn our lives over to Him, we can be saved. In order for the Atonement to take full effect in our lives, we must be willing to be like our Savior - which means we must humble ourselves before God and sacrifice all we have for Him.
( Elder Porter of the seventy ) “Whatever it may be that binds us, whatever sins, circumstances, or past events hold each of us captive, the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Immanuel, has come to set us free. He proclaims liberty to the captives—freedom from the bonds of death and the prison of sin, ignorance, pride, and error… of Him it was prophesied that He shall say to the prisoners, Go forth. The only condition of our freedom is that we come unto Him with broken hearts and contrite spirits and seek to do His will”
Jesus Christ was born to set us free -- What are WE born to do?
Jesus did the most important thing, but without effort from our side, his Atonement will not save us.
God tells us in the scriptures:
“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have NO promise.”
We must be set free through the power of the Atonement and to do that, we must repent.
Alma 7:14-15 “Now I say unto you that ye must repent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness. Yea, I say unto you come and fear not, and lay aside every sin,which easily doth beset you, which doth bind you down to destruction, yea, come and go forth, and show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him to keep his commandments, and witness it unto him this day by going into the waters of baptism.”
The other day, I got to spend time with a friend from high school who I hadn’t talked to in months. She is one of the best examples of a faithful christian I know, and I’m blessed to have had her in my life growing up.
As we caught up about what we’ve been doing for the last couple of months, I mentioned traveling this summer. I shared my experiences over seas and the topic soon turned to each of us recognizing how blessed we are to live where we do, in the United States. She reflected on her past experiences going on mission trips with her church, and all her studies. As the conversation went on, we were forced to recognized how blessed we were to be sitting in a warm building, drinking hot chocolate in perfect comfort while there are people on this earth still having to walk miles a day for water.
As I left that morning, the conversation stayed with me. How blessed we are for the small AND the large conveniences of everyday life. Fresh water. Water to drink, water to prepare food with, to physically wash ourselves clean with. A blessing we take advantage of.
As christians and latter day saints, there is another blessing we take advantage of. The blessing of repentance, and the blessing of the atonement. The blessing of being clean, spiritually. We have the fresh water of repentance that can purify and clean us every day. So that you don’t have to feel dirty or sick with guilt. We don’t have to travel farther than our houses, schools or neighborhoods to spread find and spread this beautiful gift to others. It is something that will bring all of us more happiness than anything else can.
Most people think its weird that I’m going on a mission to spread the word of God, as opposed to missions to provide shelter and health to the people of poverty stricken countries. But THAT IS WHAT I’M DOING. I’m providing others who don’t have the knowledge of God’s love and shelter and fresh purifying water the opportunity to let it change their lives for the better. There are people who are starving for a relationship with our savior and thirsting for what the gospel can provide for them.
That is why I’m going on a mission.
Elder Holland -- “Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: “I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].”
WHY I am going on a mission -
I know that not everyone I talk to will follow. God gives us the opportunity to choose. But I know that I could possibly be an instrument in God’s hands in allowing someone the opportunity to be set free through Christ. I’ve seen the difference this is in my life. I’ve seen the difference in my best friend’s life as He has come unto Christ, and the happiness that THAT experience has bought into my life is a blessing from God I will always be thankful for. I can’t wait to be able to help God bless others lives like he has ours.
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say? Have faith, have hope, live like his Son, help others on their way. What does he ask? Live like his Son.
( Elder Porter of the seventy )
“Perhaps this Christmas season we might each resolve to approach our Father in Heaven humbly in prayer and petition the power of His Beloved Son to be with us in our daily walk and to free us from our own bondages, our own personal forms of captivity, be they great or small.”
I know that if we do this- as we come unto Christ, as we accept his atonement, repent of all our sins and weaknesses, and as we give our lives to God, we will be blessed. As we strive to be like our brother, Jesus Christ, we are happy. If nothing else, Christmas time is a testament of that principle. As we turn our thoughts to Him and serve our friends and family around us, we will feel God’s love and approval. He will bless us. He blessed us with a perfect plan of happiness and the gift of His Son, so that we might return to Him. I know the gospel is the good news, and that the teachings found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are true, and that as we live them, we will be blessed, and that if we are faithful, we will return to our home in Heaven. I’m thankful to be able to share this message with the people of Western Australia.
I want to thank you all for your support and all those who wished me well this week. It’s amazing in this room to look out and see some of the biggest influences in my life all gathered together in one spot. Members from this ward and past wards, my seminary teacher, young womens, primary and sunday school teachers and leaders, friends, and families that have blessed my life. I don’t think I have ever felt so blessed in my life as I do now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To my family who is the greatest support of all, I love you so much. Your examples inspire me. They always have and I’m confident that they will even more as I receive your letters and reflect on memories while I am gone.
I hope you all know how much I love and adore our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is my brother and friend. Through him we can be saved. I believe that with all my heart.
I say these things in His name, Amen
(Talk I was given as a reference: Born To Set Us Free - Come, Let Us Adore HimBruce D. Porter)
Sunday, November 30th
These kids have a great tradition of gathering outside the church for a picture of all the youth who come to support the new missionary! It's been fun to see how this group has changed over the past couple of years. Brooklyn is the last to go this year but there are are more just around the corner.
I had all the family and friends that were gathered jump in the picture too. We missed many of the adults and a few youth who had to slip out early.
Rachel had to leave before the group shot. This picture cracks me up because of all the chairs behind them. They set up all the chairs they had because so many wonderful people came to show their support to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn is one lucky girl. She had the opportunity to share the Gospel with her best friend before she left on her mission to Australia. Yanni is such a support to her. Brooklyn and all our family are so grateful for him.
Open House at the Falter Home on Friday, November 28th -
Thanks for all your support.
Love, Mama Falter